Did the Digital Divide Negate Online Political Campaigns in 2010?

The most visible and possibly biggest spender in the 2010 Philippine Election seems to be losing the election. This begs the question how effective digital media is for a political campaign. Does it translate to votes? Or does the digital divide lessens its impact of on-line media in campaigns.

Through out this political campaign period all branches of media, print, broadcast and digital have been used for reporting, commenting and marketing. And in terms of reporting and commenting digital media has widened the array of sources available to the Internet reader or netizen. As a means of recruiting and organizing netizen for the election it has proven to be effective – look at the different fan Pages in Face books and on-line political campaign HQ. As a marketing tool however due to the very nature of its audience – Netizens – it has limited marketing effect.

And the results of the 2010 elections will dictate how people who intend to market their candidate use the on-line media the next time around. Probably due to the not-so-significant conversion rate the way ot will be used will be more conservative. And again it is because at preaches or talks to a limited audience.

The Netizen. And what is the Filipino Netizen. A Filipino Netizen can use the computer. owns or rents a computer connected to the Internet and has spare time to spend on the Internet. And to be such a Netizen must have the means to spend money and time, in other words he or she must be from the middle to the upper class of Philippine Society.

In other words not the majority. So in terms of vote getting – a not so much. Perhaps for high ticket items like cellphones, cameras, travel, food and things that require extra cash this medium would be perfect. But for marketing to the masses it would be not as important as for example a television and radio ads – which are more effective for products like soda, soap, and even politicians.

The Digital Divide does seem to limit the marketing powers of the Digital Media for the main reason its talking to a different audience. Remember the different types of people lining up to vote last Monday and view the the results today. These are different markets.

It is though effective in terms of news and commentary. And often news and commentary once it reaches the digital media – social networks, blogs, micro-blogs, forums and emails – takes on a life of its won and cannot be controlled. It can be influenced however. It is on-line where a number propaganda did appear from psychological profiles to the latest the rumor that a presidential candidate did not vote for his running mate. It seems to be goog for that but for gemerating support or marketing it has a limited range.

Something that marketers, pr practitioners, propagandists and digital media practitioners should take into account for a political or marketing campaign.

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6 Responses to Did the Digital Divide Negate Online Political Campaigns in 2010?

  1. TARUGOMAN says:

    Hey Juned!

    I agree completely. The Digital Divide has reared its ugly head, and, even if the election results are far from being completely tallied, the preemptive count shows how different the results really are.

    I’ve also had this discussion before with other social media *ahem* geeks and even if organizations and companies like 7-Eleven (through 7-Elections.com.ph) and Netopia and even the Facebook voting app show ‘certain results’, the running tally so far paints a completely different picture. Again, mainly because the audience is vastly different.

    Sadly, the divide also showed us how ‘uninformed’ the audience is on the other side of the divide.

    Anyway, will link you in my blog if you don’t mind. Will put together another commentary on the elections. Hopefully, something more light-hearted.

  2. cocoy says:


    The reason for the lack of momentum online has several reasons. first, survey has already told us early on that people get their news primarily from traditional media. second, there is limited infrastructure to speak of. good, reliable internet on a mobile device can be found in too few hands. good and reliable mobile device isn’t technologically boring, and socially interesting yet.

    Early, on it was pretty clear from the campaign perspective that online was a battle ground but it would not win the war. It was important to be there, and of course to win it, but the campaign needed to go and fight the ground war, as Manolo described it.

    Also, bear in mind that hey, Online is sexy, and it is important to get there but this is still virgin territory. It isn’t over the top ye, locally.

    I was talking to a friend who works in advertising about this last week. There are just not enough eyeballs and everyone is competing in a global audience.

    The analogy of air war and ground war is apt. Online is where you project power. This is your carrier battle group with your fighter/bombers You got your SSNs in theater and all that but you can’t invade a country with a navy. you need your marines and you definitely need an army. That’s what this is. Online right now is about projecting power.


  3. Digital media is just one advertising platform. At the end of the day I think voters would still choose who they trust and not because the candidate spent millions for advertising.

  4. bea says:

    Great post.

    Regarding this particular *candidate* though, I think we need to check if his obnoxious media spend also spanned other traditional media – I recall seeing his lovely face on TV several times. In which case the “weak link” isn’t digital but the proposition… or personality?

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